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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Economics, 2nd Edition by Tom Gorman

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The Biggies: Social Security and Medicare

Social Security and Medicare (and Medicaid, which I’ll lump in with Medicare in this discussion) each account for about 20 percent of federal expenditures. However, Social Security tax payments go into the general revenue fund and are used to fund programs other than Social Security. For the past several decades, the workforce has been larger than the retiree population, and payments into the system have exceeded benefits paid out, creating a Social Security surplus. That surplus is the amount in a given fiscal year by which the amount collected in Social Security taxes exceeds the payments to beneficiaries. This raises the subject of the Social Security Trust Fund, a topic of great confusion and controversy. ...

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